Ten Life Lessons You Learn In Your Twenties

Being in your 20’s is hard! You’re no longer at school or University and are expected to start making your own decisions and leading the path for your own life. You swing between thinking life is so unfair, wishing you could go back to school and wanting more independence, but it doesn’t have to be so hard! Here are ten valuable lessons you learn in your twenties that will stay with you for life!

Photo via Teefz

#1 You can’t force friendships
In your 20’s, I can guarantee you’ll have an issue with friendships. Most people are saddened by the fact that University friendships fizzle out almost as quickly as they started, and old school friends have new friends to hang out with. Don’t dwell on these things, give your friendships a few chances but don’t lose sleep over people who can’t be bothered to stay in your life. Cut ties, stop caring, shrug your shoulders and feel so much better! Don’t force friendships, it’ll only make you miserable. Count the good friends you have already, even if most of them are family members!

#2 Nobody cares if you have a belly
One morning you wake up and all those late night burgers and vodka and cokes have settled on your thighs, hips and belly. At first you’re in denial, you promise yourself that you will work it off, you despise photos of unflattering angles, you cringe at your emerging double chin, but then suddenly you accept yourself. You aren’t huge or disgusting, you’re just an average human being with a bit of wobble, stretch marks and cellulite. You suddenly realise that nobody else is looking at you because they’re all too busy looking at themselves, and you let out a huge sigh of relief! Now you know, if you lose weight and tone up – it’ll be for you, not for anybody else!

#3 This is the time to be selfish
“Your 20’s are your ‘selfish’ years. It’s a decade to immerse yourself in every single thing possible. Be selfish with your time, and all the aspects of you. Tinker with shit, travel, explore, love a lot, love a little, and never touch the ground.” — Kyoko Escamilla. What else can we say? Your twenties are a perfect time to do whatever it is you’ve always wanted to do because you don’t have any undue responsibilities. Indulge yourself and don’t feel bad, you have your 30s to be a better person.

#4 Nobody else has a clue
When you were younger, adults seemed so cool. They know how to make appointments at the bank and can talk to engineers on the phone, they don’t lose sleep over the dentist and they can actually dress themselves. You thought you’d never become an adult. Well, you don’t wake up one day suddenly knowing how to iron a shirt properly, it’s something that takes time. One thing you learn in your twenties is that your parents didn’t have a clue and that every other person you encounter hasn’t got a clue either. Everybody is pretending to be an adult, pretending not to inwardly giggle at rude place names, pretending not to swallow hard at the prospect of calling an engineer and settling for the same clothes they always wear. You’re safe, there’s no handbook to being an adult.

#5 Money doesn’t make your world go around
Sure, it’s so nice to have your own money. It’s great to splurge on whatever you want and save for the future and be responsible and sensible, but no amount of earning or spending can replace a good memory. Your twenties are the time for road trips, laughing wildly, sleeping under the stars and ignoring those niggling worries at the back of your head. Spend as much time as possible with the people you love, because soon everybody will start being sensible and having families and paying mortgages, and you’ll have missed your chance to dance like an idiot into the night one last time!

#6 Your goals don’t come with a countdown timer
It doesn’t matter if you don’t accomplish all that you set out to in your independent years. Your goals aren’t going to explode in your face if you haven’t achieved them by the time you’re thirty, in fact, it’s good to fail in your twenties – get it all out of the way and get ready to boss it later on. Nobody’s keeping score of your failures and accomplishments except yourself, so take a deep breath and move on! Make sure some of your goals include things that scare you, like attending a festival or camping with friends because these memories will keep you going during the slog of your later years!

#7 Your parents are human
In your twenties, you stop holding your parents to ridiculous standards and realise they’re just people. They make mistakes and they aren’t perfect – just like you! Your twenties are all about having a new kind of respect for the work your parents do, and getting to know them as an adult, and forgiving them for any mistakes they made! Most of our generation were born when our parents were in their twenties, which makes you appreciate how difficult it must have been – pretending to be an adult and being responsible for another life! Crazy!

#8 The standards are too high
In your twenties, you realise that you aren’t expected to look like the girls on the front covers of glossy magazines. You realise that celebrities have surgeons who can get rid of cellulite with a laser, and makeup artists that can erase dark circles with extra-strength concealers. You start to congratulate yourself on how put-together you look considering you don’t have access to those resources. Imagine what those celebs would look like without a dedicated team of preppers? Not as good as you do on a budget and with ten minutes to get out of the front door, I bet!

#9 People are nice
People can be so mean! You see news reports of assaults and you avoid looking at people during the daily commute, you’re a nervous wreck because people are just so scary! But in your twenties, you realise people are actually nice. Strangers will go out of their way to make you feel good, people on Twitter will inbox you compliments, it actually surprises you how nice people can be. Aw, it makes you feel all fuzzy inside! Obviously, you still have a hard time trusting strangers because you’re a cynical wreck who checks the news for crime in their area, but you learn to take the small victories. Go humanity!

#10 A little exercise goes a long way
O.M.G! Who actually enjoys being strict with themselves? In your twenties you don’t want to eat healthy food or do an hour and a half of exercise a day, you want to sit in bed drinking fizzy drinks and watching TV. Nor can you be bothered with anything that requires extra prep, you’ll just grab something full of E numbers that will fill you up fast. But you should try to get in shape by your mid-twenties (which means you have a few years of pigging out and being lazy if you need them) because it is SO much harder to exercise once you hit thirty. In your twenties, your body is still full of youth and exuberance. You might feel like crap but your bones won’t ache after a short burst on the treadmill, so do it now and prevent the pain later on in life!

These life lessons are invaluable, and you might learn some variation of them throughout your twenties. You learn who and what matters, you learn that you don’t have to find ‘the one’, just ‘the one right now’ and that you should give yourself a break. You still have a whole decade to mess up! Follow us on our social media accounts to be the first to see more articles like this and catch up with us CGD girls!

Cover photo: Death To The Stock Photo


Managing Editor

Beth is the Managing Editor of CGD. She is a graduate of the Penguin Writer's Academy, has published a short story and loves to read creative writing manuals in her spare time.

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  • Lauren

    Brilliant tips for your 20’s, I sometimes think I should be doing more at 21 but I have so much time ahead!

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Fashion Beauty – http://www.brittonloves.blogspot.co.uk

  • Emily

    Such helpful tips for when I get into my twenties!

    • Beth

      So glad you think so Emily!! Just don’t take things too seriously and your twenties will be fine! :)

  • Sarah Elizabeth

    Yes. Just yes. To every point. xx

  • David

    Beth, tremendously spot on….please share this with Daniel….he might learn a thing or two. I like the insight you show in your writing and thought process as you clearly think first about what and how you want to write about and not just produce spontaneous thoughts. Your subtlety placed but easy to spot wry humour is appetising.

    The last three lines of #6 are truly accurate. At my age and continued extraction from my native home, certain memories have remained with me very long term without losing the lustre of joy they bring and have been a real asset to my sanity / survival.

    Please visit us in Staffs. And we can enjoy some Dominos chicken-by products together.

    P.s. let me have a word with your editor if it is a matter of pence per word!

    • Beth

      David, I found your comment! Thank you so much for the encouragement! I’ll have to come visit soon, I’ve made so many promises to everyone at home but I’m just a very busy girl :)! I’m glad that you agree with this article, and I’ll try and share it with Daniel, but I can’t guarantee he’ll read it! :P

      P.s. don’t worry, I am the editor! :D x

  • Clare

    These are all so true!

    Great post as always!

    Clare | http://www.clare-without-an-i.com

    • Beth

      Thank you so much Clare! :) x

  • Emily Nunn

    Another great post – witty and useful!


    • Beth

      Thanks Emily! :) x

  • Hannah

    This was so inspiring, I’m definitely feeling scared about being an adult and feeling that I have to race to try and succeed my goals. It’s nice to have these reminders that life is more simple than it seems :)


    • Beth

      Life is definitely as hard as you make it! :) So happy to know this post helped you! X

  • Chloé

    All of them indeed is true! I’m 22 and I found myself mostly with a confused mind, broken heart, weak friendships but after each time all turns way back around! I realize my besties, their help, and a careless mind. I think great times and never want it to end!

    • Beth

      Thanks, Chloé! I’m glad you’re enjoying your twenties! x

  • Woooow! I love your blog. I hope you will like mine



  • Hoppityboo

    I turned 20 this year, hopefully these tips will keep me ahead of the game.. Starting to see the truth behind a few, already!

    Boo x


    • Beth

      Yeah, unfortunately the one I struggled with the most was friendships! But your twenties can be awesome! :) x

  • Una

    Very true points :)
    Im 20 so this is so on point


    • Beth

      Thanks, Una! x

  • Elizabeth Rebecca

    Completely agree!

    Lizzie Dripping

  • Jennifer Pennington

    Extremely true and heart centered in its honesty. This is so very true and touching. As a woman who had to grow up REALLY fast at a young age, I have to learn to slow things down and not take things so damn seriously ALL the time. Thank you for this.

  • Nataly

    I think this is actually the best and most down to earth list of lessons learnt during pur 20´s!!

  • Josie

    These are so great! Great tips! I need to stop worrying about things, you make some really good points!


  • Christina

    All so true. I remember I really struggled the first few years out of college…it’s a tough time. I really started to feel comfortable in my own skin at around age 25 – you start to accept life as an adult and focus on relationships that bring positivity in your life. Trust me, it gets better!!!

    Christina @ cuddlepill.com

  • Seasideblogger

    Ahhh this is so true, I’m 19 but I’m already agreeing with some of these! Sadly the friendship one I can already feel happening, but ah well can’t hold on to everyone I guess!

  • Nicola Bhamra

    What a lovely post. I have learnt all these things and I can definitely relate to number 1!

  • Onyxsta


    BLEURGH – http://www.bleurghnow.com

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